Breakfast, Idli, Millets

Thinai Idli | Foxtail Millet Idli | Easy Millet Recipes

After Thinai Dosa (Foxtail Millet Crepes),Thinai Khara Pongal and Thinai Veg Uttapams, I wanted to experiment with rice-free recipe for Idli. I had bookmarked Paddu’s recipefor this and with minor variations, it was quite a success. The colour of the Idly might be a little off for those who are used to bright white Idlis, but the texture was great and it was soft too.

I had made these Idlis prior to making the Thinai Uttapams, so the batter was pretty much the same. The versatile Thinai (Foxtail Millet) can replace rice in many dishes giving diabetics an advantage of eating low carb versions of everyday breakfast / snack dishes. 

So, do try these and let me know how you liked them. 

Other Idli varieties on this blog – 


Prep time : 6-7 hours soaking + 20 mins grinding time + 8-12 hours fermentation time (or overnight)

Makes: approx 25 idlis


  • Foxtail Millet / ನವಣೆ / தினை – 3 cups (1 cup = 120 ml)
  • Idli Rice – 1/2 cup (or replace with foxtail millet completely)
  • Urad Dal (Split / Whole) – 1 cup
  • Methi / Fenugreek seeds – 1 tsp 
  • Salt – to taste



Soak Urad Dal with methi seeds in one bowl. In another bowl, wash the millet several times in running water to rid of stones / dirt. Soak along with Idli rice for 6-8 hours.


Grind the Urad dal + methi seeds to a nice fluffy paste . Remove to a large bowl. Similarly grind the millet + idli rice to a smooth but semi coarse paste. Add both the mixtures, salt and mix it thoroughly with your hands for a good 5 mins. 

Transfer to a large bowl (leaving ample space for rising).  Cover and keep overnight or for 8-10 hours (depending on the climate, the fermentation might take longer). 

The next day, mix it well, take a ladle of the batter, steam in greased idli plates for 8-9 mins or till fully done and a skewer comes clean

Serve with Tiffin Sambhar and / or any  Chutney / Molagapudi 


This goes to BM # 85 under “Breakfast series”




  1. Priya Suresh

    Thinai idli looks super fluffy, would love to have this spongy idlies for my breakfast without any fuss.

  2. Those Idlis look super inviting Kalyani!..very healthy to have made with thinai.

  3. They look super fluffy, Kalyani. Would love to try them at home.

  4. NIce and fluffy looking idly.

  5. One cannot make out that these idlis are made with millet… they look just like the normal ones. Have lots of thinai, so will try this recipe.

  6. MySpicyKitchen

    Looking at the ildi one would not know these are made of foxtail millets. Plate of ildi with chutney is inviting.

  7. Sandhya Ramakrishnan

    I never thought that we can get such perfect idlis with millet. I really need to give this recipe a try. Bookmarking it 🙂

  8. cookingwithsapana

    Millets idli sounds very healthy and look so soft and fluffy.


    To me these idlis looked like the usual idlis, not like you colored. and these appear to be quite soft and fluffy.

  10. Chef Mireille

    perfectly soft and fluffy idlis – thesse are something I havent gotten around to trying yet

  11. Priya Srinivasan - I Camp in My Kitchen

    we love millets idly kal! This one is usual at home, as u rightly said, the color is a put off, that too my lil one warns me not to keep dirty idlies in his breakfast! 🙂 But the health quotient of it nullifies the rest!!

  12. code2cook

    Really..?? You have so many healthy idli collection. This foxtail millet idli looking so soft and moist. Great job.

  13. Thinai idli has come out very well, soft and fluffy. Will try this recipe..

  14. I love idlis.. I never tried using foxtail millets. Looks the same like nor,al idlis.

  15. cookwithrenu

    I love to try different varities of Idlis and this one is a healthy variant with foxtail millet. Bookmarking this to try soon.

  16. Beautifully made idlis. The best thing is no one will know what goes in the batter. Absolutely love it.

  17. Idlis look so soft and spongy.. will love try with foxtail millets as never made with it

  18. Sarika Gunjal (Spice Zone)

    will try to different variations of idli.

  19. Sarika Gunjal (Spice Zone)

    love idles, will try this. Love to try different variations.

  20. JollyHomemadeRecipes

    Me and my family love idli, thinai idlis looks so soft and spongy, I am definitely going to make this..loved this recipe a lot. Awesome share!!

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